This pen bleeds right now.
Steadily, ink flows
quietly seeping through paper
leaving scars that cannot be altered.
Was it like that for you? That night?
When you died fighting
for what you thought was right?
While we, sat comfortably at home
watching TV while laughing
exchanging stories in a cozy room.
As you lay on your back
watching the stars slowly lose their light,
and blood blossomed from your lips
like ink on paper
your dreams spilled over
as you fought for breath,
for your family
for your country
while the mud felt cold on your skin,
they stepped on you and shot you again
until your flesh was torn apart
and crimson flowed into your heart.
And this country, this nation
you served with your life
this nation beset with strife …
Cried at your death, angry and sad
while the President wore a poker face.
His words hidden in a cloud of haze
his hands dipped in a bowl of blood
but he shook them dry, wiped them clean
without remorse, without even glancing
at your mutilated body, lifelessly bleeding
and your eyes, now dark and unseeing
are forever unable to see
the stars and the sun burning ….
Photo above was taken from http://www.eastbound88.com
Photo from http://www.gmanetwork.com
When the Commander-in-Chief, the President, was asked if he gave the go-signal for the operation, he replied that the Special Action Force (SAF) had no need to ask for his approval, because it fell under SAF’s duty to carry out such an operation. It took him three days to come up with a statement.
Today, the bodies of 42 fallen heroes arrived at Villamor Air Base. Their families are mourning. The President was not present during the ceremony, instead he chose to attend the inauguration of the Mitsubishi Motors plant in Laguna.
The Eulogy for the Fallen 44 Heroes (January 30, 2015).
Bits of Information:
🔅The President was late for the Necrological Service and it had to be interrupted in order to wait for him.
🔅Some of the fallen heroes could not be shown lying in peace in their caskets, because their bodies were mutilated and some of their body parts are missing.
🔅The entire nation is mourning the loss of these brave young men today. May God bless their souls and console the families they’ve left behind.
Please click on the links below or copy and paste them on your browser in order to watch the different eulogies given to honor these valiant heroes.
President Aquino’s Eulogy for the Massacred SAF Police Officers
Please click the link below to watch the President’s eulogy. His eulogy is quite controversial because it displeased a great number of Filipino people. A lot of people who heard it said that the speech was actually not about the fallen police officers, but it focused more on Aquino and his past painful experiences. They also felt that the President did little to honor the memories of the fallen heroes, but instead used his speech to push his political goals forward. Unfortunately for the President, his speech spawned a lot of angry comments in various social media sites.
How Did This Tragedy Happen?
The Manila Standard Exclusive
‘Purisima planned it all’
Christine F. HerreraJan. 28, 2015 at 12:01am
The fatal covert operation that killed 44 members of the elite Special Action Force and wounded 12 others had been assigned by President Benigno Aquino to suspended National Police Chief Alan Purisima, apparently without the knowledge of Interior Secretary Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas 11.
A police general, who was part of the planning and actual operation and is privy to the ongoing investigation told the Manila Standard on Tuesday that Aquino may have considered Purisima as still the “de facto PNP chief” in assigning to him the sensitive mission.
“It was a tragedy in the making,” according to the police general.
“The President was aware of the Marwan covert operations. Purisima reported directly to him. In fact, the President went to Zamboanga prior to the troop’s jump off to Mamasapano in Maguindanao so that he would be in the vicinity when Malaysian terrorist Zulkipli bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino Basit Usman, both bomb experts linked to the Jemaah Islamiya terror cell, are captured,” said the general, who requested anonymity.
“The President was there as he expected the turnover of Marwan to the Philippine government. The President would be present during the presentation of Marwan. Such was the solid plan,” he said. “The President expected a successful operation.”
He added that “Roxas was not with the President. He was kept out of the loop. No one else knew of the covert operations because the subject were terrorists wanted worldwide by the US government, which even offered a $5-million bounty for Marwan’s capture and $1 million for Usman.”
He said there was “no clear leadership” other than a marching order that it was sanctioned by Malacañang.
“From the ground, the SAF officials reported directly to Purisima, who ran the operations from the White House in Camp Crame, despite his suspension,” the general said.
“Purisima would then report either to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. or directly to the President,” the source said.
The controversial white house was the official residence of the PNP chief and was the reason why Purisima was suspended following his acceptance of P25 million in donations for the renovation of the residence.
“Secretary Roxas was kept out of the loop. He was so incensed that when he called for an emergency meeting, the first he did was confront [PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director Gerardo] Espina and the SAF officials and blamed the SAF. We felt no empathy from him. He blamed us,” the general said.
“Why was I not informed? Why was I kept in the dark?” the general quoted Roxas as saying when he arrived at the command conference.
“Who was behind this operation?” Roxas demanded.
Espina immediately took a hands-off stance and told Roxas he was also not aware of the Palace-sanctioned raid.
The general explained that the President allowed Purisima to run the operations because it was Purisima who was in possession of all intelligence information about Marwan.
Purisima, he said, had followed and tracked Marwan’s moves since 2005.
“Due to the sensitivity of the information, Purisima would not share the intel with anyone and asserted he had to personally run and oversee the operations,” the general said.
Besides, the general said, Purisima needed such a huge break and successful operation to redeem himself from the controversies linking him to graft and corrupt practices, for which he was suspended for six months.
The President, thinking of the possible worldwide attention he would be getting for having to capture the world’s most wanted terrorist, gave Purisima the go signal.
“Purisima was told by the President to operate “incognito”,” the general said.
“The President acceded to Purisima’s condition and ordered Ochoa to provide Purisima the resources, ammunition and artillery that his troops would need,” the source said.
“So all the SAF men involved, including the 44 who perished, the 12 who were seriously wounded and a survivor of the carnage, were all trusted men of Purisima,” the general said.
Asked what went wrong as the SAF troops had engaged in a fierce firefight with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the general said it was the MILF that violated the ceasefire.
“The ceasefire was in effect. We observed it. We expected the MILF to observe that too. There was no way we could coordinate with the MILF when the terrorists we were after were in their territory,” the general said.
“We were there only to serve warrants for the arrest of Marwan and Usman. There was no intention to engage in a firefight with the MILF. We did, however, expect an exchange of gunfire with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in case they turned up because there was no standing ceasefire with them,” the general said. “We also came ready with our weapons.”
“We were caught unawares when the MILF fired upon us. And so we radioed for back-up and artillery from the Philippine Army. The Army refused to send the artillery and told us their hands were tied because of the standing ceasefire,” the general said.
“The army officials even thought the distress signal and SOS for back-up over radio was a prank call because they insisted there was no operation slated in Mamasapano,” the general said.
He said the call for help went to a circuitous route – from Mamasapano to Camp Crame to Zamboanga, where the President ordered Ochoa to call the Army and send an extraction team.
“It took us several hours of convincing the “higher-ups” that our ranks were already being slaughtered,” the general said.
“The artillery came at 6 a.m. when most of the men were decimated already,” the source said.
The general said a seven-man fact-finding team has been formed to get to the bottom of the Masasapano carnage.
Asked to elaborate on the President’s order for Purisima to remain “incognito,” the source said it meant, that “Purisima, even if the operations turned to be successful, cannot claim credit for it.”
But now that it turned into a huge failure, the general said, it would be an injustice to the 44 men who got killed if no one would be made responsible for their death.
“This is why this early, we wanted the real story to come out so that no one could bend the truth as to what really happened and who were responsible behind the operations. We want the real story told. Lives had been lost. Those were good men,” the general said.
As this developed, Espino sacked Director Getulio Napenas as chief of the Special Action Force on Tuesday following the fatal operation.
Espina announced Napenas’ relief during a press briefing in Camp Crame. Espino said SAF Deputy Director Chief Supt Noli Talina will replace Napenas as SAF officer in charge.
“I talked personally to Director Napenas about his relief at the start of the Board of Inquiry. I would like to get to the bottom of things,” Espina said.
Roxas had ordered that a BOI be formed to unravel the whole truth behind the special operations led by the SAF Sunday at Brgy Pidsandawan, Mamasapano.
The BOI will be headed by Director Edgardo Ingking, head of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operation in Mindanao, with PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief Director Benjamin Magalong and Chief Supt. Catalino Rodriguez, of the PNP Directorate for Research and Development and the PNP Secretariat as members.
“What happened during the encounter, were there lapses, and if were there persons liable, they should be meted sanctions,” Roxas said.
“It is also important to know whether there were operational lapses so that this would not happen again,” Roxas said.
The SAF special operation was centered on arresting Malaysian terrorist and Jemaah Islamiya-trained bomb expert Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and his Filipino counterpart Basit Usman.
Roxas and Espina both claimed that Marwan was killed during the operation. Roxas said that Marwan’s death was properly documented with a photograph showing the supposed dead body of the terrorist.
Roxas said the clash between the SAF mmebers and MILF was a misencounter, but sources from the police and the military rejected the claim as highly improbable.
“That’s very farfetched. Obviously, the SILG has no exposure to combat. In the field, misencounter can be established only minutes after the initial shooting. But in Mamasapano, the SAF were engaged in intense, hours of firefight,” a source from Camp Crame said.
“Worse, some of the SAF troops bore bullets wounds at their backs, which means that the perpetrators managed to get near the troops. So, how can that be a misencounter?” the source added.
Roxas had clarified the SAF commandos went to the lair of the MILF and BIFF, a splinter group of MILF, in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano in Maguindanao last Sunday not because of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation $5-million bounty and another P1 million reward on Marwan and Usman, respectively.
The SAF operatives were doing a legitimate police operation when they were attacked by BIFF and MILF elements, and that the misencounter began when the elite police force had entered an MILF-controlled area, he said.
A total of 392 elements of the PNP-SAF were involved in the operation, of whom 44 were confirmed dead, 12 were wounded, while 336 were all accounted for, Roxas said in an official statement. He also ordered PNP’s Comptroller Director Rolando Purugganan to ensure that all the benefits due “our fallen heroes” will be given to them “Put up a system to ensure that they (victims’ kin) will immediately receive all assistance due them,” he said.
The supposed arrest of Marwan and Usman had nothing to do with the suicide bomb threat on Pope Francis’ five-day visit to the country, he said.
“Marwan is a high-value target both internationally and locally. Authorities had long been after him for being the most wanted terrorist,” he added.
Photo from http://www.officiallyphilippines.com
English translation of President Aquino’s speech on the Mamasapano clash
January 28, 2015 8:13pm
I stand before you today to report on what we know about the incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last Saturday and Sunday. I do this not because I wish to preempt the board of inquiry tasked to uncover the entire truth, but because you have a right to know what we know at this point.
On Saturday, January 24, a group composed of members of our Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force headed to Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Their mission was to serve outstanding arrest warrants to two notorious terrorists who have long been pursued by authorities, namely Abdulbasit Usman and Zulkipli Bin Hir, alias Abu Marwan. According to the most recent report of the NDRRMC, 44 of our policemen died in the process of fulfilling their duties, while 16 others were injured, including 3 civilians.
As President and as father of this country, I am greatly saddened that our policemen had to lay down their lives for this mission. Without question, these people are heroes; they who willingly put themselves in danger to address threats to our security; they who were wounded; they who gave their lives in the name of peace. To honor those who perished, I am declaring a National Day of Mourning to symbolize the sorrow and empathy of our entire country.
Marwan and Usman are not common criminals. There is a long string of outstanding warrants for their arrest. There are no less than 8 outstanding warrants against Usman alone, while there are no less than 2 for Marwan. One of the earliest warrants was issued in 2002, which means that they were already being pursued when I was a member of Congress. Allow me to clarify: When a warrant is issued against an individual, all officers of the law are obligated to serve it. This is precisely why, since long ago, our security sector, including the AFP, PNP, and NBI, has undertaken multiple operations to capture Marwan, Usman, and other terrorists.
These agencies are not always required to obtain my approval for each and every one of their operations, because it would be impractical for them to wait for my clearance before proceeding. My duty: to make certain that they are carrying out their responsibilities. There are times when certain matters are elevated to my desk so that I may give guidance, give a more holistic view of the situation, or explain its wider implications.
A few examples of this are: our response to rogue MNLF elements in Zamboanga, the capture of individuals high on our list of Most Wanted Persons, and the assault on our peacekeepers in Golan Heights. In the Golan Heights case, the decision of whether or not to depart could not simply be left to our battalion commander there. As the person primarily responsible for foreign relations, I had to be consulted to make certain that we are likewise upholding our obligations to the United Nations.
Marwan is part of the Central Committee of the Jemaah Islamiya, which was responsible for the Bali bombing in Indonesia. In this incident, two consecutive blasts occurred, which meant that first responders and individuals who had not left the area were also affected. 202 people died, and Marwan was a suspect in this case. In Cagayan de Oro in 2012, Marwan attempted to replicate this modus; the second bomb did not explode, as it was discovered ahead of time, yet 2 people still died as a result of this incident. There are allegations that, in 2006, Marwan, along with Umbra Kato, led a plot to plant a bomb to assassinate then-Governor of Maguindanao, Andal Ampatuan. Marwan’s membership in international terrorist networks means that he has the capacity to acquire the knowledge, the equipment, the funding, and the necessary safe havens for his fellow terrorists. This is why he was considered the primary target of the operation. Usman, on the other hand, is connected to nine bombing incidents in Mindanao. He is the primary accused in the bombing in General Santos City in 2002, in which 15 people died, and 60 were injured.
Together with another terrorist named Mawiyah, Marwan and Usman committed several acts of terrorism in various parts of Mindanao. They are also both known bomb-making trainers. There are reports that they run factories of improvised explosive devices, which they sell to fellow terrorists. They have injured and killed many people, and they continue to threaten the safety of our citizens as long as they roam free.
I emphasize: It is stated in Article II, Section 4 of our Constitution that “The primary duty of government is to serve and protect the people.” This is why, when our police force uncovered the precise location of Marwan and Usman, they decided to take action and serve the warrants of the two individuals. Our authorities gathered actionable intelligence. They found not just the region, the province, or the municipality, but the very house in which the two were hiding. Not acting on this knowledge would make it possible for Marwan and Usman to escape, which would mean that the long process of gathering information would have to start all over again.
It was past 4 in the morning when the SAF reached the stronghold in which Marwan and Usman were hiding. In the encounter that followed, the primary target, Marwan, was allegedly killed. Upon hearing the gunshots, Usman and his cohorts fought back. There were also non-combatants spotted in the houses in which Marwan and Usman were located; it was necessary for our forces to close the distance to avoid involving the innocent. Marwan’s house was the first attacked; Usman responded, and the element of surprise, which was necessary to avoid detection, was lost. This is why the SAF decided to withdraw and rendezvous with their companions, who were securing their exit route from the area where the encounter occurred. It appears that it was during this withdrawal when the bloodiest part of the clash happened.
Like so many others, I have many questions surrounding the incident, and I expect the board of inquiry to uncover the truth behind this incident. In the briefings the PNP gave me about the continuing operations against Marwan and Usman, I repeated countless times the need for proper, sufficient, and timely coordination. The terrain covered by this operation is complicated: muddy, with swampland, and there is even the need for our SAF to cross a river to reach their destination. There are also many other forces scattered in the area: the BIFF, MILF, and even a Private Armed Group. Even if the MILF and BIFF now constitute two different groups, many of them are related by blood or by affinity. Strangers cannot just enter their territory. Our troops needed to enter quietly and carefully; otherwise, their targets may have been alerted.
It is precisely because the forces of the SAF were much smaller than the surrounding numbers who could intervene that it was important for the Armed Forces to be ready to position their troops, resources, and equipment like cannons or artillery, should our police require support. They needed sufficient notice to place their troops where they would be of greatest assistance. In these kinds of encounters, had the assistance of the Armed Forces been necessary, they would not have been able to mobilize and arrive at a moment’s notice, especially because the members of the 6th Infantry Division, who were nearest to the action, have other duties.
To my repeated reminders about the necessity of coordination, the director of the SAF answered, “Yes Sir.” All that he said was that operational security, or the restriction of information only to those who needed to know, was likewise necessary. Even then, I underscored the need to alert other branches, or their respective heads; the notification must come at the appropriate time, with complete information, for them to make the necessary preparations.
I wonder: how and why could it have happened that the notification of the AFP battalions close to the operation only came close to the time of jump-off, or even after our forces had already jumped-off? The problem there was that the soldiers who were members of the battalion assigned to guard the main supply routes to this location were scattered in different areas. In simple language, the notification to the AFP came too close to the time of the encounter, thus making it difficult to determine if they were given enough time to prepare, had their assistance been necessary. If my order to ensure sufficient coordination had been complied with, then perhaps it was pushed to the limit, resulting in very minimum compliance. In fact, I was surprised to learn that the heads of the Western Mindanao Command, or even of the 6th Infantry Division, had only been advised after the first encounter involving Marwan and Usman; the SAF forces were already retreating, and the situation had already became problematic.
Now, on the MILF: We have already made such great strides because we trusted one another. We have already proven that we can work together: in 2014, a Japanese national was rescued in Maguindanao; in that same year, we were able to prevent the explosion of a bomb in Maguindanao. I have also read the statement of Chairman Al Haj Murad about the Mamapasano incident; the MILF’s formation of a Special Investigative Commission in order to determine the details of the incident constitutes a good first step. I am hopeful that the MILF will show, in the soonest possible time, even more concrete evidence of their solidarity in the pursuit of peace, towards the pursuit of truth, and the accountability of those responsible.
Let us also avoid spreading rumors and fueling speculation about the incident. The Bible itself says: The truth shall set us free. There is already a board of inquiry assigned to uncover the whole truth. Let us wait for the results of their findings.
We have already come such a long way in our quest to realize the peace that we have long desired for Muslim Mindanao. All sides exhibited great trust to reach this point. The incident in Mampasano has already given rise to those who want to take advantage of this tragedy to undermine that trust; they wish to derail the peace process. There are even some already calling for a halt to the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
This should not happen. The success of the entire peace process is contingent on this law. If this law is kept from being passed at the soonest possible time, the peace process will be derailed; the status quo will remain. If that happens, we cannot hope for anything but the same results: Citizens who take to the mountains after losing hope; individuals kept from gaining justice who instead choose to exact violence on their fellowmen. It would be as if we helped Marwan and Usman to reach their goals. Do we want to return to the point when communities are ready, at a moment’s notice, to flee to evacuation centers, because of the threat of an encounter? If this were to happen, who would benefit? If the peace process were derailed, how many more graves would we have to dig? How many more children will idolize Marwan; how many will want to grow up to be Usman; how many engineers will choose to build bombs rather than buildings?
Let us also remember: The members of the SAF lost their lives while fulfilling their duty to maintain the peace. If the peace process fails, if we return to the status quo, or if the violence were to worsen, is this not the exact opposite of the cause to which they gave their lives?
Is it not true: In facing this challenge, in order to realize peace, should we not link arms more tightly, and pursue with greater determination the next steps in the process, like passing the BBL; forming the Bangsamoro Transition Authority; widening opportunities for all; and correcting a political system where a few benefit to the detriment of the majority of our countrymen?
To the families of the SAF members who perished: I fully sympathize with your grief. I know that this grief may be accompanied by worries about your future, especially if your loved ones who sacrificed their lives were also your breadwinners. I guarantee: The state will give the maximum assistance it can, within the limits of the laws and rules. On this occasion, I also take the opportunity to appeal to the public: If possible let us extend our utmost support to the bereaved, and maximize the help we can give to the families of those who fell, in recognition of the valor of these heroes who gave their lives for the realization of the peace we have long desired.
In the face of our grief, in the face of the desire of some to exact revenge, in the face of the threats to destroy the trust we have forged over such a long period of time, today, our ability to show compassion to our fellowmen faces a great test. This is why, to all of my countrymen who desire peace, from lawmakers, to the members of the uniformed forces, to the leaders of the MILF, to our countrymen in the Bangsamoro, and to every decent Filipino: Let us show what heights a country united by a single aspiration can reach. Let us ensure that the ultimate sacrifice made by some members of the SAF does not go to waste. We will gain justice, in time, through the right processes, and without letting go of our dreams to realize a widespread and lasting peace.
Thank you, and good evening to us all.
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